Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Mother Nature Hates Me

Just when I put all of those plants in, there is now forecasted to be a MAJOR freeze tonight.


Monday, February 25, 2008

Mom's Garden

Let’s just meditate on azalea season for a moment.

The above picture is from my mom's yard, where I've been spending my last few weekends. I'm working on a new bed for my parent's. Primarily I've been doing it because it is fun to start with a blank slate, and secondly because I am a touch masochistic. So far it has been fun.
Here is the before, from 1/12/08:

Now, for the record, I've only been doing this for the last two weekends, not since January 12th. So don't be too disappointed in my progress. The above bed in the front of their house had some sad looking roses, two thick clumps of irises, several mystery plants (one I think is society garlic, and the other looks like a amaryllis or crinum - either would be okay) and lots of weeds.

Here is what it looks like after yesterday:

I removed the weeds and roses and made a circular bed on the left with some brick they had left over when they installed their pool. The round stepping stones were buried in the weeds. I put in a bird of paradise, which suffered some cold damage, impatiens and coleus. On the right, I divided the two large clumps of irises and up them against the bushes, along with some of the mystery bulbs that were all over the bed. In the upcoming weeks I'll add an angel trumpet between the two bushes, add variegated shell ginger behind the bird of paradise, mulch the stepping stone path and fix the brick border. So far it is a new garden and bit raw, but with any luck it get thicker and lusher as the season progresses.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Just Plain Craziness

The lovely thing about a blog is that you can share things that excite you without convincing your family that you are completely insane. This is the sort of thing that helps me get up in the morning. When I planted the New Guinea impatiens yesterday afternoon, I took some cuttings. This morning, less than 24 hours later, I have roots!!! I've never seen a plant root this quickly. Good thing I like these impatiens - it looks like I will have a lot of them!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Yes! We have no bananas.

Aren't these New Guinea impatiens yummy? I went to the nursery with a totally different objective in mind, but I couldn't reisist these. They are bit of an exeperiment as I've never planted them before. I'm hoping they will last a bit longer than regular impatiens, which tend to got dormant during the heat of summer.

I added them to the front garden, along with a Philodendron 'Hope' and lime green coleus. The coleus and impatiens were intended for my mother's yard, (more on that in a later post) but the plants created rave reviews from the monster and his son, boys who don't typically care much about plants. So we had to keep them. I'll get some more for Mom tomorrow.

Now for the more depressing part of the day:

Time to get rid of the banana trees. They just look like crap late in the season, and as you can see the white bird of paradise plant has the same effect and stays much nicer.
I am only realizing now, looking at the pictures, how much better this all looks. The dead plants were bothering much more than I realized. Unfortunely, the trunks of these plants were far more difficult to move and they are still there. I tried with all the Freddie Krueger malice I could muster, but no luck. In some parts it is just solid trunk, no room to even dig around. If anyone has any suggestions for removing banana trunks, it would be helpful. Well, if I'm this happy that the bananas are gone, imagine how I'll feel when we fix the pool!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A Gem in the Bargain Bin

I love finding a gem in the bargain bin. This book was written for me, and quite possibly only me, but I'll share it anyway. I work in marketing, and while I'm not a graphic designer, I do a lot of graphics work with brochures and Internet material. Needless to say my job requires that I know my way around Photoshop. So I was excited to find a book that conjoined the left and right side of my own brain. Sandra Austin mixes my need for the nerdy science with what can only be called the art of garden design.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Day After Daytona

Yesterday me and the monster went to Daytona. Sorry environmentalists, it is a huge waste of energy, but damn is it fun! Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon had a bad day, but we had a great one. The weather was beautiful and the jets were awesome as always. With the exception of the crumby music (Chubby Checker? seriously?) the day pretty good. But enough NASCAR, this is a garden blog. Have you ever wondered what is under the track's stadium seating?
Plants! And I can find a plant any where, and drive my husband crazy trying to take pictures. Granted, this space would be better used for tables and chairs, which were in short supply, but it was refreshing to see all the greenery. I'm not sure what the kinds of plants they were, mostly palms. They certainly had to be durable, being covered with beer, french fries, and cigarettes all day.

Friday, February 15, 2008

I've Been Tagged . . . And I Think I Kinda Like It

I’ve been tagged by Germi! Typically I'm terrible about passing these things on, (you should see of the bad luck I've accumulated from broken chain letters) but she caught me in a good mood. So here you go:

1. My husband made me into a NASCAR fan against my will. He keeps taking me to the races at Daytona and we are going this weekend. I've become a big fan of Jimmy Johnson - Go 48!

2. I have an obsession with the TV show Lost. I'm a total Skater.

3. I have a far greater obsession with my ipod, although I dislike everything else Apple has produced, including itunes. But my ipod is special . . .

4. I'm in a mixed marriage. My husband is a Gator and I am a ‘Nole. We are fighting for our daughter's soul.

5. My favorite book is Wuthering Heights. I’ve read it about 8 times, one of the only books I’ve ever read twice without being forced.

6. I spent a summer during college studying in Russia and spent one night on Red Square, drinking with the Ruskies, of course!

7. I apparently have only 6 random things about me, because I cannot think of any more.

Here are taggies. I'm sure these guys have done a gazillion of these memes already, but I really just want to send my love:

Kim @ Cannas and Bananas, despite the whole Gator thing.
Rusty @ DragonFly Garden
Jordon @ PlantCrazy

Sunday, February 10, 2008

This is What Happiness Looks Like

Several weeks ago, my front garden was seriously depressing me. This morning I woke up to this, and all was well again:

Doesn't that just scream spring? If you are interested, the story of how I "procured" these irises is here and here. So for the first time in a few weeks, I spent the day gardening.
First I dug up the plants I wanted to keep, then pulled the weeds and loosened the dirt.

Next comes newpaper to cut down on the weeds. Watering them keeps them in place.

Cow manure goes on next, then mulch. My daughter was highly amused when I told her what manure was. What does it smell like? Poop. It is. It's cow poo. Yuck! Do plants like cow poo? Yep, they think it is a hot fudge sundae!! Ewwwww.
Here it is, all done. I put the vinca back in, and added some white impatien cuttings. In the middle I'll put in a Split Leaf Philodendron some time in the upcoming weeks. Now, most gardeners who know what they are doing will tell you to put the manure under the newspaper, near the roots, and this probably good advice. I put it on top because, under no circumstances should my husband see newspaper in the garden. This upsets him. So manure helps cover the newspaper and cuts down on how much mulch I need to buy. I did the same thing in the butterfly garden and when I was planting lily bulbs, I noticed the soil was light and fluffy. And there was a total worm convention going on! So I must not be doing it too wrong.

Boat Ride on the Withlacoochee

For all my whining about not being able to garden because of the yucky weather, as soon as it turned nice, it seemed such a shame to waste the beautiful day puttering away in the garden. So me and the family spent a lot of time outside the past few weekends. Last weekend, we went to Homosassa Springs, an area known for its manatees. I'd have lots of pictures to show you, but I forgot the camera in the car. Yesterday, my in-laws took my family on a pontoon boat ride on the Withlacoochee river. This time I remembered the camera. What a great day.I always look to see what is blooming in my mother-in-laws garden, and this time it was this plant with red flowers. Neither of us know what it is, so if you do, let me know.

These are cypress trees along the river. Check out the old waterline.
My mother-in-law knows how to take a boat ride. Plenty of food and wine!
My knowledgable inlaws told me the name of these birds several times, but of course I forgot it. Like I said, there was plenty of wine. Regardless, they were excited to see so many because this bird is particularly sensetive to environmental polution and was it was a sign that the river was getting cleaner.
The remains of a railway bridge, from back when this area was filled with phosphate mines.

Bird on a branch.

This is a great blue heron standing on its nest. This picture turned out way better than I expected.

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